Chicago alderman Joe Moreno is once again threatening to block the Chick-fil-A's Chicago store, this time because CEO Dan Cathy assured Mike Huckabee over the weekend that the company "made no such concessions" to gay rights advocates. "I still need to introduce legislation to make the Chick-fil-A in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago a reality," reads a statement we received last night from Moreno. "I will wait to see what Mr. Cathy’s next public statement is, and reflect on that statement before moving forward with appropriate legislation." Moreno's threat comes after Cathy appeared to publicly walk back a private promise the company had made to Moreno that it would stop funding anti-gay organizations. Apparently Cathy told Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day creator Mike Huckabee over the weekend:
There continues to be erroneous implications in the media that Chick-fil-A changed our practices and priorities in order to obtain permission for a new restaurant in Chicago. That is incorrect. Chick-fil-A made no such concessions, and we remain true to who we are and who we have been.
Cathy's language with Huckabee is a bit tricky, in that he doesn't mention anything about WinShape--the company's not-for-profit charitable arm that promised last week to stop "supporting organizations with political agenda." Last week Moreno said company executives showed him documents (Gawker reported it was spreadsheet but on Thursday Chick-fil-A released this non-spreadsheet and said it was the same one shown to Moreno), that assured him the company would no longer support groups that are anti-gay and pledged to draft an internal memo reiterating respect for gay and lesbian employees.
After Cathy's interview with Huckabee, Moreno is now skeptical that the company will follow through on those assurances. Here is his full statement:
Dan Cathy decided to make a PUBLIC statement to Mike Huckabee that, at the least, muddied the progress we had made with Chick-fil-A and, at the worst, contradicted the documents and promises Chick-fil-A made to me and the community earlier this month. Since Mr.Cathy made a PUBLIC statement, I am PUBLICY asking him to confirm and support what I was told and shown by his company representatives.
1. For the FIRST TIME in the company's history the company wrote and distributed a document to all of its employees titled, "Chick-fil-A: Who We Are" that guarantees that the company and its employees will "treat every person with honor, dignity and respect- regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender."
2. I am asking him to PUBLICLY confirm and support a letter that was voluntarily given to me by his company executives earlier this year that states the future behavior of Chick-fil-A's not for profit arm, The WinShape Foundation. The letter states that, "The WinShape Foundation is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas." We were told that these organizations included groups that politically work against the rights of gay and lesbian people.
3. I am also asking him to PUBLICLY confirm and support what Chick-fil-A executives voluntarily told and confirmed to me earlier this month-- that Chick-fil-A, and its not for profit arm WinShape, in 2012 has not and will not donate to entities with political agendas, including organizations that politically work against the rights of gay and lesbian people.
Mr Cathy continues to not confirm to the press what his company executives have told and showed me. This is disturbing. Since Mr. Cathy wants to confuse people, he needs to publicly confirm the three components described above, which allowed us to move forward. I am simply asking Mr. Cathy to confirm statements and documents that HIS company exectuives provided to me. It is pretty simple, Mr. Cathy. Do you acknowledge and support the policies that your exectuives outlined to me in writing or do you not? Yes or no? If not, Chick Fil A is a business that practices irresponsible, and potentially illegal, business standards.
Perhaps Mr. Cathy felt that he could make these public statements to Mike Huckabee because I had provided a letter of support for his restaurant to the City of Chicago earlier this week. I provided this letter based on the progress we had made with Chick-fil-A. I still need to introduce legislation to make the Chick-fil-A in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago a reality. I will wait to see what Mr. Cathy's next PUBLIC statement is, and reflect on that statement before moving forward with appropriate legislation.